Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 403 October 7, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 90. Visibility improves, although there are clouds and some rain. Luftwaffe again tries the tactic of sending over large raids of 50-100 aircraft, with bombers escorted by 3 times the number of fighters to overwhelm the RAF defenses. Again it fails and RAF claims 21 German fighters & 6 bombers shot down for the loss of 16 RAF fighters (6 pilots killed). London is subjected to heavy night bombing again but there is also widespread bombing of other cities including Bristol, Liverpool and towns in East Anglia, Wales and Scotland (where naval and dock facilities in the Firth of Forth are attacked).

Operation Lucid. Fire ships (tankers War Nizam & War African filled with a flammable floating cocktail) sail for the French channel ports but the operation is again cancelled when escort destroyer HMS Hambledon is badly damaged on a mine just off the English coast near Folkestone (under repair until May 1941).

50 miles off the Northwest Irish coast, at 4 PM, U-59 sinks Norwegian MV Touraine (1 killed, 34 survivors abandon ship in 3 lifeboats). 400 miles West of Ireland, British tanker British General finally sinks at 8 PM, after being hit by 2 more torpedoes from U-37 (all 47 hands lost).

500 miles Northwest of Australia, German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stops Norwegian tanker Storstad (carrying 12,000 tons of diesel oil from British North Borneo to Melbourne). Storstad is taken as a prize ship, loaded with 110 mines from Pinguin, renamed Passat and commissioned into the German Navy as an auxiliary minelayer. 30 of Storstad’s crew are taken prisoner while 5 continue to serve with the German prize crew of Passat.

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